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Thread: C&B Revolver question

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    C&B Revolver question

    Hey guys, I've been away from the board for a while due to having too many irons in the fire. I still have too many irons, but not as many as the last couple years.

    Anyway, muzzleloading season is coming up in my state, and I generally carry a 44cal (actually 45cal) 1858 repro as a backup. My state laws, say any caliber can be carried as a backup, but for "taking game" must fire a 200+ grain conical to be legal.
    Past years I've used the molds for my 45 handguns (.452) and cast from dead soft lead. However even with the size of the bullets being smaller than the round balls, it still takes a lot of muscle and puts a TON of stress on the loading lever to load.

    All that to say, I've thought of using plastic sabots made for 45cal bp rifles with either 40cal or 9mm/38cal dead soft handgun bullets, to make it easier to load, and still meet the state required 200gr conical requirement. The question I have is anybody have experience with this or know of any issues I might run into? The cylinder gap on my 1858 is actually smaller than the gap on my modern revolvers, so the risk of the sabot hanging or shearing ought to be minimal, if any.

    Thanks in advance!

    PS Mods please move to the appropriate forum if this isn't it,crosses several areas so not sure.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Have you thought about a cylinder loading tool? It would allow you to load the conical you want without putting the additional stress on your revolver....
    "Do not follow where the path might lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail" Ralph Waldo Emerson

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    Yeah, last one I tried didn't hold up very well. The handle was mild steel, and bent rather quickly.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Size your .452s down a bit and put a wad under them? Fishing....and hoping for someone to come up with good answers. I would also like to hear from the experts about loading conicals.
    "Do not follow where the path might lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail" Ralph Waldo Emerson

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I never could get conical bullets to shoot as well as round ball in a C&B revolver, but if that's the law....

    The first thing that comes to my mind is to load the cylinder off the gun. I know you said that you had bad luck with a cylinder loading tool but I would consider giving that another chance, perhaps with a better tool.

    The next thing that comes to mind is the sizing of the bullets and the size of the cylinder throats. If you are putting tremendous force on the loading lever, something sounds wrong. I would look into the possibility of sizing your conical bullets before attempting to load them.
    A round ball only needs to shave off a tiny bit of lead on the tangent line where the maximum width of the sphere contacts the opening of the cylinder throat. A conical has more surface area in contact with the walls of the throat but it shouldn't be super difficult to seat a proper sized bullet in a cylinder.

    I think trying to get a sabot and a small bullet to work will take way more effort than it's worth just to get 6 rounds in the cylinder for some occasional hunting.

    And last, WHAT STATE has that ridiculous law concerning conical bullets in a revolver?

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    The Lee 200-grain R.E.A.L. bullet when cast of pure lead loads easily in most cap & ball revolvers, meets your weight requirement and is accurate. Use a full chamber of 3Fg so that the charge is compressed at the end of the rammer stroke and you'll have an effective load about 700 fps.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    There's some various ways of doing it.

    One is to use a Lyman or RCBS style sizer to make the body of the boolits just less than the chamber diameter except for the front band. Then the front band shears on the chamber lip just like with round ball.
    That way the boolit slips into the chambers with good alignment and without harmful stress on the loading lever.

    For any given revolver the chamber diameters are either used as-is or else modified to work better with the barrel or available boolits and sizers.

    Customized molds work too and you avoid all the other stuff. Plus, you can make the design to minimize the loss of chamber space.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    There's another mold idea that I've considered trying but just never have. That's to have a double ended boolit; both ends the same as with a double ended wadcutter. To maximize the accuracy potential in a percussion revolver both ends would be of flattened elliptical cross section (like the typical .41 Colt). That way the accuracy benefits of a rounded rear end such as with round ball could be had and the reduced initial contact area on the front end would facilitate penetration (I had wadcutters go splat and not penetrate worth diddlely). Put a shear ring midway down the length of the boolit. Or have two shear rings with lube between them. The only draw back would be the difficulty in making the mold adjustable length.
    Any how, that's something I'd like to try.

    Went and drew it up. This is what I was thinking.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Good Cheer; 09-27-2019 at 08:50 PM.

  9. #9
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    I smell alloyed lead here. Lose that stuff, and get ya some pure lead from Rotometals. I have a bit more effort loading conicals than RBs, but "Straining the loading lever?" Nah, somethin' ain't right, and I think it's your alloy. Even a soft alloy like WW metal is an unreconstructed devil to coax into a 44 charge hole with a load lever. Ask me how I know this.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Harter66's Avatar
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    I stumbled into a 429421 that had been fixed .....all the way out to .448 with WW . That works out for me as both the 58' and Dragoon are .448 . Out of roof lead the base band was tight and the front band was a slip fit .

    Another trial I tried was a 45-200 SWC in the 58' over FFg wasn't bad to load if I rolled the bottom band down to a firm slip fit .

    A pure lead RB is 141 @.454 and a .451 is 140 . Seems to me a guy ought to be able to use something like a 452-200 RNFP with a .448 base 1 groove and a .454 dia top band about .460 long would do I think .
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9.3X62AL View Post
    I smell alloyed lead here. Lose that stuff, and get ya some pure lead from Rotometals. I have a bit more effort loading conicals than RBs, but "Straining the loading lever?" Nah, somethin' ain't right, and I think it's your alloy. Even a soft alloy like WW metal is an unreconstructed devil to coax into a 44 charge hole with a load lever. Ask me how I know this.
    To get the boolit base to fill the grooves you really need soft.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    But on the reproduction 1858, yes, you can over work the weak loading lever.
    .36 caliber not so much a problem. .41 not too bad. .44 easy to be bad.
    Chamfer on the chamber mouths helps a bunch.
    But with longer boolits you can still sometimes run into the tapered chamber boogerbear.
    The 1860 and 1861 were designed to apply the load to "conicals" so with them it doesn't matter so much.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy ofitg's Avatar
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    Addressing the question of sabots - a fellow on the 1858 Remington forum experimented with "Harvester" sabots to load .40/180gr JHP bullets in his .44 percussion revolvers -

    https://1858remington.com/index.php?topic=11941.0

    Interestingly, he found that the Pietta .44 Remington chambers were too tight to accept the sabots, but it seems that he was able to load the sabots into his Uberti cylinder (ie, a .44 revolving carbine).

    In any event, the extra length incurred by the sabot - particularly the base of the sabot - only left room for 20 grains of powder in the .44 Remington cylinder.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Does not lee make a 220 grain conical with grease grooves for C&B revolvers still? I have one for my Ruger old army. Past the grease grooves, it’s oversized where the ogive occurs so it’s easy to load in C&B revolvers.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by smkummer View Post
    Does not lee make a 220 grain conical with grease grooves for C&B revolvers still? I have one for my Ruger old army. Past the grease grooves, itís oversized where the ogive occurs so itís easy to load in C&B revolvers.
    I used that same bullet in my old army they do load reasonably easy , they did not match my best round ball loads but shot very well.
    Here is a link to the 3 they offer.
    https://leeprecision.com/bullet-cast...-cap-and-ball/

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    Lots of good info here, thanks! Did some testing yesterday.
    Loaded half the cylinder with conicals sized to .451 other half was loaded with 45/40 sabots from mmp
    The conical was a mp 45200 Cramer. Alloys used were 40-1 from rotometals and stick on ww (am told pure lead).
    Sabots loaded easily, and all exited the barrel and dropped off and were found about 5yds from the firing position. Accuracy was on par with the conicals.
    Sized down conicals loaded much easier. They were lubed with a 50/50 mix of Marine grease and beeswax.
    Both shot to the left of the POA but could be operator error.
    The state is Arkansas and the law states "Muzzleloading handguns must have a barrel at least 9 inches long and be at least .45 caliber if they shoot conical bullets (200 grains or heavier). If round balls are used, the minimum caliber is .530." it also says "A hunter may carry a muzzleloading handgun of any caliber as backup to a muzzleloading rifle."
    My concern is that I may be on the ground and not have my rifle within reach (like setting the rifle down to take a leak) and a deer come up. I know I could make a good shot with the revolver. I've had that happen, but don't want to get popped by the warden.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by lksmith View Post
    Yeah, last one I tried didn't hold up very well. The handle was mild steel, and bent rather quickly.
    Check some of the vendors with North-South Skirmish Association. We use a bunch of Remingtons in the revolver team and individual events, and some (OK, many) of our shooters are pretty heavy handed, so the loading tools many of us have settled on are “Hell for stout.” You might also be able to find a mould for an accurate conical bullet among those vendors as well.

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  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    and again we have taken something simple and made it down right difficult. get the lee mold for the .44 cap and ball pistol. it weights 200 gr. and loads easy.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob208 View Post
    and again we have taken something simple and made it down right difficult. get the lee mold for the .44 cap and ball pistol. it weights 200 gr. and loads easy.
    If I had the time to mold an additional boolit style that might be an option. But between weather (90+ and hi humidity or rain) and commitments from 50hr workweeks and a toddler, I ain't got time now and probably won't until dead of winter. Gotta use something that I either have or can buy. Therefore sabots or 45cal cast boolits I already have

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    The way I read the law, as supplied by the OP, they are talking about single shot muzzle loading pistols. If it were me, I would ask for clarification on the use of a c&b revolver. In Ohio, the use of a c&b revolver was not allowed the last time I looked into using one.

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  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master
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    As I read the OP's post ref the law, if the handgun is a backup to a primary muzzle loader, it doesn't matter at all what caliber the handgun is.

    "The state is Arkansas and the law states "Muzzleloading handguns must have a barrel at least 9 inches long and be at least .45 caliber if they shoot conical bullets (200 grains or heavier). If round balls are used, the minimum caliber is .530." it also says "A hunter may carry a muzzleloading handgun of any caliber as backup to a muzzleloading rifle." .

    So as long as you have a primary hunting arm that meets the requirements, the handgun carried in addition to that weapon can be anything the hunter chooses.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check